Eritrea

Useful info

Motto: Never ever knelt again

Government: Presidential Republic

Total area: 124.320 Km²

Population (2016 est.): 4.954.645 (growth rate: 2.4%); birth rate: 33.6/1000; infant mortality rate: 44.2/1000; life expectancy: 60.0; density per sq mi: 41

Capital and largest city: Asmara, 899,000 (metro. area), 400,000 (city proper)

Other large cities: the ports of Massawa, 30,700; and Assab, 56,300, and the city of Keren 75,000;

Monetary unit: Nakfa; 1 US$= 15,250 Nakfa

Transportation: Railways: total: 306 km (2006).

Highways: total: 4,010 km; paved: 874 km; unpaved: 3,136 km (1999 est.).:

Ports and harbours: Assab, Massawa.

Airports: Asmara, Massawa

Languages: The Tigrigna and Arabic are the two predominant languages spoken, but have also spoken Italian (many signs are written in Tigrigna, Arabic and Italian) and English.

Religion: Muslim 50%, Coptic, Catholic, Protestant, Animist

Ethnicity/race: ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, Bilen, Rashaida and Hidareb 3%

Religions: Eritrean Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Roman Catholic, Protestant

Literacy rate: 59% (2003 est.)

GDP (Gross domestic products): in 2016 amounted to $ 10.176 billion, for $ 1466 GDP per capita.

National airline: Eritrean Airline

Popular sport: soccer and cycle.

Touristic Guide: – Ethiopia e Eritrea by Lonely Planet- EDT

                         – Eritrea: Una terra, un popolo, un paese da scoprire- Polari 

Telephone (both land line and mobile) telex or fax and the Internet are accessible in most main towns. The IDD code for Eritrea is + 291-1-XXXXXX for land line and + 291-7-XXXXXX for mobile.

Terrain: Dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands with jagged mountains, descending in the east to a coastal desert plain, in the northwest to mountainous terrain and in the southwest to flat to rolling plains 

Border Country: Sudan on west, Ethiopia on south, Gibuti on south-est

Mountains: The highest point of the country is the mountain Soira, located south of Asmara, which rises to 2989 meters above sea level. The second is the mountain Jabal Hamoyet (2780 m)

Main rivers: the rivers of the country are almost all of a seasonal nature and among the greater are the Gash, the Barka, the Setit and the Anseba flowing to Sudan, and the Falkat, the Laba and the Alighede which flows towards the Red Sea.

The Fauna and Flora of Eritrea, is one of the most interesting features. Eritrea is one of the blessed countries in the biodiversity. To name some of the wild lives habitat in the Gash-Setit-elephants, lion, greater kudu, Tara hartebeest, velvet monkey, olive baboon, Soemmerring’s gazelle, ostrich, and others and in the green belt of north and southern Red Sea, as well as beautiful coral, sea turtles and dugongs there can be found leopards, bushbuck, klipspringer, duiker and warthog. Beside these, there are also a wide variety of birds such as Erkels’ francolins, chestnut napped, francolins and so many others (about 500 species of birds).

The territory of the east of the country is covered by vegetation typical of half-deserted areas (bushes and brambles), predominate in the west, which will switch to mangrove swamps. In mountainous regions are growing juniper and olive trees, while north-east of the capital Asmara, there is the last tropical forest in the country

Main islands:  Dahlak Archipelago

Climate: The climate is temperate in the mountains and hot in the lowlands. Asmara, the capital, is about 2,300 meters (7,500 ft.) above sea level. Maximum temperature is 26o C (80o F). The weather is usually sunny and dry, with the short or “belg” rains occurring February-April and the big or “meher” rains beginning in late June and ending in mid-September.

Time zone: 3 hours ahead of Greenwich

Voltage: 220 Volts.

Public holidays:

*    1st January New year

*    7th January Eritrean Christmas

*    19th January Epiphany (Timkat)

                        Eid al Adha

*    8th March Women’s Day

*    April:   Orthodox Good Friday

      Orthodox Easter Day

      Birth of the Prophet

*    1st May International Labour Day

*    24th May Liberation Day

*    20th June Martyr’s Day

*    1st September Start of the armed struggle

*    11th September Orthodox New Year

*    27th September Holy Cross (Meskel)

*    October/ November Eid: al Feter*

 History

Eritrea is a name given by the Italians from the Greek word “Erythrean” meaning Red as they colonized a region located on the Horn of Africa with 1200-Kms extended coastlines in 1890, but the people’s history can be traced back to the ancient times. As the archaeological evidences illustrate, it is the home of the earliest civilizations and a region where human kind originated. This region was identified as Land of Punt by Egyptians who were sending trade expeditions by the second millennium B.C.

According to linguistic evidences, the original inhabitants of the present-day Eritrea were Nilotic people who eventually intermingled with the Hamitic tribes of North Africa that were expanding southwards. By the 1200 B.C., Semitic people from the South Arabia began to trade along the Eritrean coast gradually settling on the Eritrean highlands.

The Semitic then mixed with the existing tribe- Cushitic- giving birth to a distinct civilization that arose into a new power: the Axumite kingdom that ranked third of those powerful empires that existed at that time, and flourished in the 4th B.C. It expanded as far as South Arabian Peninsula until it began to decline ending in breakup in the seventh century.

 The struggle for independence ended in 1991, when the Front for the Liberation of the Eritrean People drove out the Ethiopian army from Eritrean border, and joined the other Ethiopian resistance movement to overthrow the dictatorship of the Derg who fell in the same year. Two years after a referendum was held, under the supervision of the ONU called UNOVER. The universal suffrage was attended by both populations residing in Eritrea and those refugees in other African nations after the diaspora, and it is decided whether Eritrea would be an independent country or would maintain the federation with Ethiopia. Over 99% of Eritreans voted for independence which was officially declared on May 24 1993. The EPLF leader, Isaias Afewerki became the first provisional President of Eritrea and the Front for the Liberation of the  Eritrean People, renamed People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) gave birth to the first government.

Visa requirements:

All visitors need an entry visa to be obtained, before the arrival, at Eritrean embassies in the country of residence. Only for those country where is not available Eritrean Embassy, an entry visa can be obtained at arrival, but with due process with Immigration Department in Asmara.